ISLAMIC COMMUNITY | Celebrating Prophet Muhammad Day

The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-I-Islam (Lahore) Society celebrates Prophet Muhammad Day at the time of his birthday.

Guests are invited from different religious backgrounds and the society shares the prophet's teachings, addressed any misconceptions and builds ties with the wider community.

The evening held at the end of last month began with host Ameen Sahu-Khan acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land. He then invited Zafrullah SahuKhan to read the chapter Al-Fatiha, or The Opening, of the Holy Qur'an.

President Sadr-ud Dean Sahu-Khan welcomed guests and introduced guest speaker Sister Makiz Ansari who described Prophet Muhammad as "The love of my life".

Each year the society has a keynote speaker and over the years they've been most informative and very educational.

Sr Ansari's address was strikingly different; it was passionate, inspiring, personal and highly engaging. Everyone was disappointed she didn't speak for much longer because we would've been quite honoured to listen to her dulcet tones all night.

Her key points began with the endearing qualities of the Prophet. She spoke of his compassion for the poor, for the enslaved and the vulnerable and how influential and engaging he was. He transformed the entire Arabian peninsula from pagan worship to worship of the one god.

He was also an effective negotiator and he developed the world's first constitution, the Medina Constitution, which was a contract to ensure fair treatment of all the territories that had been conquered.

He was visionary, notably regarding his love for the environment and the need to care for it.

His spirituality was vital to his life and it was characterised by a balance and a relationship between divinity and earthly needs. For example, he believed that one hour of true contemplation and reflection was better than a thousand units of ritual praying. And he taught that fear did not inculcate love.

Be kind, for whenever kindness becomes part of something, it beautifies it. The best among you is whoever doesn't harm others, not with his tongue, neither with his hands.

MAKIZ ANSARI, guest speaker

The Prophet's inspiring message serves as a way of life for all Muslims. Affirmation (one God) and the finality of the last Prophet, prayers, charity (involving the purification of one's wealth), fasting (to guard against evil) and pilgrimage (involving the spiritual purification of one's soul).

Islam and the Prophet's message have been distorted. The world today sees only the external manifestation of Islam, through the wearing of hijabs, long flowing robes, heavily bearded men and the separation of the sexes.

The spiritual element is often lost which is what we must emphasise and promote. Peace within oneself is what will bring change in the world, she said. If we aren't at peace within how can we contribute to peace towards others?

Those who partake in violent attacks have anger within themselves so they naturally project their anger towards the world. This doesn't serve any productive end and is contrary to the teachings of Islam.

The Prophet said once that he will hold himself accountable for ants being trampled on in pursuit of modern construction. He saw animals as a community which should be protected, that there was dignity in every part of God's creation.

She also emphasised that the greatest jihad is to battle one's ego: "Be kind, for whenever kindness becomes part of something, it beautifies it. The best among you is whoever doesn't harm others, not with his tongue, neither with his hands."

Sister Ansari ended her address with the need to focus on our spiritual development: "We must focus on attaining inner peace first before anything else. Only then can we hope for a better world."

Ameen Sahu-Khan opened the floor for questions, which allowed the society to respond to a few misconceptions. You can view the questions and the responses at the society's Facebook page:

Nith Chittasy, of the Lao Buddhist Society of NSW, said he's been attending these functions for a few years and considers the members like his own brothers and sisters and that he could feel the love in the room. He acknowledged the speakers and said what had been shared that evening was quite different to other Muslim functions he'd attended. And he noted that the members of this society are very calm and peaceful.

Senior member Chand Bibi Sahu-Khan presented Sister Ansari with a copy of the Holy Qur'an and the book The Religion of Islam and Sadr-ud Dean SahuKhan presented the senior members of the society with appreciation certificates for their long dedicated service.

General secretary Sameer Khan thanked the guests for attending, noting that one doesn't have to be a Muslim to learn from Prophet Muhammad's teachings and he encouraged those present to spread his message of peace.

Ameen Sahu-Khan made a petition to God Almighty, asking for help for our firefighters and our farmers with much-needed rain.

Islam is the last of the revealed religions from God. The root-meaning of Islam is to enter into peace. A Muslim is one who makes his peace with God and man. Peace with God implies submission to His will and peace with man is to refrain from evil or injury to another and also to do good to him.

Islam's six pillars of belief: Allah, angels, prophets (for example, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad), Books of God (such as the Torah, Bible and Quran), life after death and Taqdir or predestination. Muslims believe in all of the religions of the world, laying the foundation for world peace. Belief in the above is necessary to become a Muslim.

Islam is based on Kalima (the pronouncement of the Unity of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad), Salat or prayer, Saum or fasting, Hajj or pilgrimage to Makka and Zakat or charity.